A summer in twenty sentences

Today, after almost a year of running, I finally clocked a 10:15 mile.

My goal is to run a nine-minute mile.

When I began, it took me almost 15 minutes to run one mile.

In July I ran my first 5K obstacle race and jumped over fire.

I trained for this by running at noon on 90-degree days and logging endless hours on the treadmill.

I rode my bike for many miles under the hot sun, through raging thunderstorms, at night, drunk (once; not so proud of that) and with group of spandex-clad, clip-shoed folks, who when you know them ahead of time are nice but sometimes are a bit snooty with those of us wearing cotton and lace-ups.

My husband says, based on the number of pictures I take of it, I should just admit I’m in love with my bike.

One thing I learned this summer is that the moment you let go of something it works out just fine either way.

Another thing I learned is letting go is not easy.

I edited a 75,000-word manuscript in June and July, which killed my interest in working on the memoir this year.

Doing the right thing rarely feels good, such as when I cancelled my trip to Colorado this summer.

I’ve decided the best way to write for future use is to document every joyful, painful, frustrating, interesting thing happening now.

The plot and hook will come later, right?

I am blessed with a great community of friends and supporters.

After three-year hiatus, we finally had a serious primitive camping weekend.

I met a very big owl deep in the woods as I was gathering firewood. We had a stare down, which still gives me chills when I think about it.

I had another standoff with a porcupine, which was nowhere near as spiritual.

I did not cry at my oldest daughter’s high school commencement ceremony in June.

In August, I found my first legitimate full-length, corkscrew-crazy, gray hair poking out of my head.

Then, I cried.

 

 

 

Putting the ow in wow

Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned my right knee made a sound like a chip bag being crumpled? Remember how I made it sound like it was a funny thing?

Even funnier is now I have a matched set. Two knees that sound like crumpling cellophane when I kneel or try to lunge or squat in exercise.

Maybe I can sell them on eBay.

Do I need new knees? I’ve saved for a good pair of running shoes. Oh, and one of those titanium sports bras. Now, it looks like knee braces are on the list. But not new knees, oh god, no.

Getting old — older — sucks just like I thought it would.

As you may be aware, I have all these goals for the summer and beyond. Goals that need a higher level of fitness. Call these things carrots or brass rings or whatever. I use them as motivators to get in the best shape of my life.

So, what happened on the sweaty road from fat to fit?

Failure is not an option is my mantra. Since October I’ve worked hard to reach a goal that seemed impossible.

Two weeks ago, the tiniest tip of my big toe lightly brushed against that goal. I was so wowed by this I lost all sense.

Suddenly I was Jaime Sommers, the bionic woman. As I ran I heard that ch-ch-ch-CH-CH sound in my head. At least until the first commercial break, then I fell down a flight of steps, bolts and screws flying in all directions, my toe miles from any goal. Back to the lab.

I pushed myself too fast, too soon. I attempted to work through the pain, like I thought you were supposed to do. Turns out there are subtle differences between a sore muscle and inflamed tissue. Turns out I do not have a degree in sports medicine or physical therapy. Turns out my journalism degree is good only if I employ the research aspect.

Sure, I downloaded training schedules, read articles on the process, talked to others.  But if the order for the day said run 2.5 miles, I said, fuck it, I’ll go for three.

Turns out that at a certain age that is not the best workout plan. Turns out my parts are not titanium like the sports bra I covet.

Now, instead of sweating and feeling the burn, I’m on the couch icing my legs and losing the battle of willpower with those boxes of Girl Scout cookies in the pantry.

What is the sound of patience? Better yet, can I buy it on eBay?

 

 

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Running

 

nigel homer via creative commons

I’m trying to run.

Well, I’m actually running but it doesn’t feel like real running because it’s on a treadmill and I’ve got this idea that once I get good on that I’ll move on pavement or grass or dirt.

One of the reasons for running is because I (foolishly) signed up for this. The idea is that I aim for something difficult (to me) and train for six months so I can be so proud of myself and maybe (just maybe) have a better body and health as a result.

Another reason is that The Warrior Dash seemed irreverent and maybe not all that seriously athletic like a marathon or half marathon. A few friends completed it last summer and talked about how fun, crazy and easy it was.

On what can only be called a whim, I signed up, paid the money before it occurred to me that these friends are all marathon runners. Well, OK, half-marathon runners but still, that’s way more than I’ve ever done in my life. We might have different ideas about crazy, fun and easy.

What-the-hell-was-I-thinking?

OK. There’s also this recurring dream I’ve had for months? Years? I don’t really know.

In my dream I am running — for real, on the street –every day. I’m just gliding along with strong lungs and fluid movements. Somewhere in all this the dreams started to nag at my conscience. I’d think about them during the day. Why am I having them? What do they really mean? Am I supposed to be out there running for some reason? It became an overwhelming compulsion to get to the gym and run as often as I could. Even if I fared poorly that day, my conscience eased for having tried.

In my youth, I was a pretty good runner. I was lean and swift. Over the years I’ve dabbled with running on treadmills mostly as a way to shed pounds. The last time I seriously attempted it was three years ago. Between then and now I’ve had pneumonia twice.

Since late summer, I’ve been pushing and pushing to improve my running on the treadmill so that by January I can begin to run outside. How else can I train for this event? In some twisted turn of events, I’m actually doing progressively worse with each session.

I’ve even found myself trying to get out of this thing somehow. What I should be doing is finding a trainer.

Or maybe I just need a dream interpreter.

 

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